Dating a co-worker is a controversial topic often spurring intense opinions about boundaries, toxic workplace cultures, and romantic comedy plotlines. However, what most of these discussions fail to capture is how appropriate or inappropriate other relationships with co-workers are.
A fresh-faced 23-year-old teacher found himself with this exact conundrum when he became enamored with a co-worker’s daughter.
A 23-year-old teacher wondered if he was crossing a boundary by asking out his colleague’s 20-year-old daughter.
He took to Reddit to ask users how appropriate it was to ask her out on a date and wondered if it would put a strain on his workplace friendship.
As a brand new high school teacher, this young man needed all the help he could get when he started teaching his students and he found it when his 40-year-old co-worker took him under her wing.
However, when her daughter dropped off dinner after school, he was love-struck. He decided to walk her to her car and asked for her social media, but he didn’t want to make a move before asking Reddit for advice.
“I never brought this up with her mom,” he wrote, “I don’t want to make anything awkward or potentially unprofessional between us.”
Some suggested it was inappropriate to ask her out.
While it may not be two co-workers dating each other, his working relationship with the young woman’s mother would be forever changed. Experts argue that it’s imperative to set workplace boundaries and that there are consequences when professional relationships become personal.
Recruitment specialist, Nick, or @careerxl on TikTok, specifically talked about the consequences of intimate co-worker relationships, but his advice could be applied to this scenario as well.
While it may not be illegal to have a personal relationship with a co-worker, it can certainly introduce dynamics that might make for distractions and productivity issues at work.
“If you screw this up at the beginning,” one commenter wrote, “you will pay dearly. There’s a way to do it — figure out how to start clean, so both mom and daughter know you wish to date. Keep it honest and open.”
For this young teacher, if everything works out well he has a new girlfriend and gets to embark on a more familial relationship with his co-worker. If everything goes wrong, he’s stuck managing a difficult work situation and potentially dealing with a risk to his job’s productivity and stability long-term.
Other commenters suggested that there was a way to pursue a relationship with her daughter appropriately, but advised him to only move forward if he felt things could be “serious” between them.
Photo: max-kegfire / Canva Pro
“You have to try to be upfront, not play games, and get along with the mother so your working environment keeps being professional” one user noted. Another pointed out, “If your intention is a casual relationship, I would avoid it. Ironically, this is more problematic than a relationship — it will only bring drama.”
Dating his colleague’s daughter could potentially introduce new workplace dynamics, gossip, and productivity issues.
While intimate co-worker relationships are the talk of the internet town other personal relationships follow similar trends within the workplace. Personal relationships in the workplace breed drama and gossip.
It would be naive to think that at least one high school student won’t piece together the romantic puzzle should this man actually pursue a relationship with another teacher’s daughter.
If you’ve ever been in the ring of fire that is high school drama you know it is not something to be laughed off. Not only will it affect the dynamics of this teacher’s classroom, but also the potential for rumors to be spread between him and his co-worker (potentially disrupting her classroom).
The entire situation, while seemingly innocent now, could introduce tense dynamics and uncomfortable situations for the pair.
The teacher shared a seemingly happy ending in an update to the original post.
“I ended up talking with my colleague for a few minutes about it,” the Reddit teacher admitted in an updated post. “She told me it’s fine to ask her out as long as I’m 100% respectful of her daughter’s boundaries and choices.”
Not only did he get his co-worker’s blessing, but she also gave him a little bit of intel. “Apparently her daughter mentioned that I was attractive in the car … so she was preparing for this to happen.”
Photo: PeopleImages / Canva Pro
Ultimately, it seems this young man took the right approach. He was open and honest with his colleague about his intentions, and she gave her blessing in return.
The beginning of a relationship when everything is shiny and new is the easy part, however. But as long as these colleagues stay professional at work and keep open communication instead of leading with emotion and drama, it just might work out for this young couple.
Zayda Slabbekoorn is a news and entertainment writer at YourTango focusing on pop culture analysis and human interest stories.